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April 15, 2009

Scottish woman on \’Britain\’s Got Talent\’ becomes YouTube sensation

Scottish woman on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ becomes YouTube sensation

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Scottish woman, appearing as a contestant on the UK television reality show Britain’s Got Talent, has stunned audiences around the globe. Her appearance, which can be seen on YouTube, shocked the show’s judges and the theatre audience.

47-year-old Susan Boyle from Blackburn, West Lothian, in Scotland, made her debut appearance on the show on Saturday night by saying that she had “never been married, never been kissed” and was currently unemployed, living alone at home with her cat, Pebbles. She says that she wants to “be a professional singer”, but has “never been given the chance.” Audience members and judges Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, first laughed and even poked fun at her.

Boyle then stunned the judges and audience, getting a standing ovation, with her performance of I Dreamed a Dream from the award winning musical performance Les Misérables. Cowell called her performance “extraordinary” while Morgan called it “the biggest surprise I’ve had in three years of this show. I am shocked.” Holden even admitted that “everyone was against you [Boyle]” and that “we were all being very cynical.”

People from around the globe have also gotten a glimpse of her performance. As of April 15, after just four days, her performance has been viewed over 9,000,000 times on YouTube, becoming YouTube’s most ‘popular’ video, and the most viewed of the week. Within 48 hours, she already had a fan site on the world wide web. Boyle’s performance is also currently the top search result on Google’s search engine when entering the song title.

It is not yet known when Boyle will appear next on the show. Assuming she qualifies for the latter stages, her second performance is likely to be aired in late May — there are 25 episodes in the season, and so far only two episodes have aired. The show is in its third season.



Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Britain’s Got Talent on Wikipedia.

External links

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September 2, 2006

Wikinews interview with America\’s Got Talent finalists At Last

Wikinews interview with America’s Got Talent finalists At Last

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Saturday, September 2, 2006

Singing group At Last was recently a finalist in America’s Got Talent, covering songs like “Let’s Stay Together” and “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Talent was a NBC television series search for America’s next big talent, featuring singers, dancers, magicians, comedians and other talents of all ages. The series was hosted by Regis Philbin, and judged by former tabloid editor Piers Morgan, singer Brandy, and actor/singer David Hasselhoff.

They talked to Wikinews about their group’s performances and the America’s Got Talent experience.

Interviews

Q: At Last performs “hip-hopapella” (hip hop a cappella). For those who didn’t see you on America’s Got Talent, how would you describe this sound?

A: Hip-hopapella was born out of a rehearsal when we were just messing around between songs. We were singing “Killing Me Softly” and harmonizing when Mike decided to throw in a beatbox, and it was like WOW… it was just magical and we knew right away we had discovered a new sound for us. Our producer came up with the name. Since then it’s really evolved into fat layers of harmonies over a hip hop style bassline and beatbox. We like taking old school songs and flipping it hip-hopapella style to create something recognizable yet fresh.

Q: The band has sung at concerts with many noted names, and on quite a few television series. Where in America have audiences been most enthusiastic?

A: We think we get the most enthusiastic responses in areas where there aren’t a lot of Asian people. For example, in the midwest or the south. At first, they have their typical stereotypes of what we are. All they see is William Hung. But then they hear these four Asian guys sing R&B, and they’re shocked. After the shock wears off, they realize they just like what they hear, regardless of the faces.

Q: How did At Last first form?

A: We all met at an audition, held by actress Ming-Na, and have been together for five years. Together with her, we have the goal of showing America and the world that Asian Americans love music too.

Q: Of your competitors, who was your personal favorite? (Any point in the competition, not just among the finalists.)

A: We loved Bobby Badfingers. He just had an incredible energy and has flat out the best showman in the competition. Backstage, he was so personable too. Actually everyone on the show was very friendly and open… we made a lot of new friends on that show.

Q: Who was your favourite judge?

A: It’s hard not to answer Brandy, because she had so much love for us, especially early on. But we have to go with Piers because of his honesty. Ultimately, his comments are the ones America respects the most.

Q: Overall, are you satisfied with the experience “America’s Got Talent” provided?

A: We’re very happy with our experience on the show. We got more exposure than we ever have before and we’ve made some great new friends and contacts. We got to show America who we are and what we can do, and even though we didn’t win, we’ve gained so much.

Q: What’s next for At Last?

A: We finished an album just before we started doing AGT, so we’re going to get back to promoting that and start touring.

External links

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

To find out more about At Last, visit their official site, www.atlastmusic.com/. You can “friend” them at MySpace: At Last, or keep current with their biweekly webcast on Youtube.

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August 31, 2006

Wikinews interview with America\’s Got Talent finalists Celtic Spring

Wikinews interview with America’s Got Talent finalists Celtic Spring

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Irish American dance and fiddle band Celtic Spring was recently a finalist in America’s Got Talent. Talent was a NBC television series search for America’s next big talent, featuring singers, dancers, magicians, comedians and other talents of all ages. The series was hosted by Regis Philbin, and judged by former tabloid editor Piers Morgan, singer Brandy, and actor/singer David Hasselhoff.

The mother of the family, Mary McCauley Wood, talked to Wikinews about their group’s performances and the America’s Got Talent experience.

Interview

Celtic Spring; interviewee Mary Wood is top row, center.

Q: For readers who didn’t watch America’s Got Talent, how did Celtic Spring first start?

A: Celtic Spring had its beginnings in my interest to pass on the culture of my grandparents to our children. My grandparents were from Ireland, and they loved their culture and passed on a love of the culture to me. I wanted to pass the love on to our children so when each one turned four years old, he or she began to learn to play the fiddle and to Irish dance. We never intended to be a performing family, but the children loved the music and dance and became quite accomplished at an early age. We also began going to fiddle camps when the children were very young. At the camps great fiddlers are brought in from Ireland, Scotland, Cape Breton, Shetland Islands, etc. and the children would learn the tunes “by ear” from amazing musicians who would teach the music and provide enough inspiration for the whole year. Ten years ago our children began fiddling at a local farmers’ market to earn money for fiddle camp and thus Celtic Spring was born.

Q: Celtic Spring was consistently a fan-favorite, as one of the Viewer’s Choice in the semi-finals, and in the top 5 of the finals. Why do you think America loved your performance as it did?

A: America loved Celtic Spring’s performance because the Irish fiddle music is beautiful to listen to and the Irish stepdancing is awesome; furthermore, Celtic Spring members are excellent musicians and dancers. I think people love that they are all one family and that they also fiddle and dance at the same time.

Q: Overall, are you satisfied with the experience America’s Got Talent provided?

A: Celtic Spring had a wonderful experience with America’s Got Talent. We were thrilled that our audience liked our performance so much! We also had a great time getting to know the other performers and all the staff at the show. The talent and the staff became like a big family. Most of all, we liked having all that time together as a family. We are sad that the show has ended and all the family have expressed the sadness. We are grateful for all the friends and fans we have made through the show and hope to meet them as we perform around the country.

Q: Who was everyone’s favorite competitor, at any point in the competition?

A: We really liked all the talent who made it to the finals. They were all good, decent people, who had worked very hard to get where they were at that point in their lives. We especially enjoyed all the other young people. Our children travelled to New York City with the cloggers (All That) for The Today Show and had fun getting to know them better. We liked the Millers, Taylor, and Bianca, and became good friends with David and Dania. They were very sympathetic when Piers first said to “dump your mum, dad, and little brother.” I think they were shocked when then Piers “attacked” them. We decided that Piers went after the family acts: the Millers, Celtic Spring, and David and Dania (who were a married couple.)

Q: Who was your favourite judge?

A: We actually liked all three judges. Until we came before Piers in the semi-finals, we thought his judging was good and we mostly agreed with him. We were shocked what he said to us, but happy that he could not find something specific to criticise. He never said why we should “dump” the parents and the little brother. After we had won the semi-finals, he said “You are brilliant!” We also very much liked David. During the all the time of filming, we got to know him and we realized that he is different in real life than the show depicted him. We were really touched and happy, and felt like we had won the million dollars, when at the end of the show, he presented us with a photo of himself that said: To Celtic Spring! Your family values, your talent,your dedication is what me and all of America will remember. See you on the big stage soon!” We liked Brandy because by the finals we had her appreciating what we do. I think initially our Celtic music and dance was not a genre she was familiar with. I think she loved our rendition of “Amazing Grace”!

Q: Celtic Spring has performed across both North America and Europe. Where have audiences been the most responsive?

A: Wherever we have performed, our audiences have loved Celtic Spring. Music and dance are a universal language and speak to everyone. One of our treasured memories of performing was when we performed in an Italian village for a really enthusiastic crowd with whom we could not speak. But they loved our show and afterwards showered us with their treasures: a gold painted horseshoe, poems, books, etc… We were so grateful to be able to bring them joy through our music and dance. We also had great fun performing at an all boys boarding school in England. Afterwards they showed us all around their school, including the haunted corridors (if felt like something our of Harry Potter) and then shared their music with us: a jazz band and madrigals sung at dawn in the tower in the quad to welcome in May Day. When we perform we think we are giving something special to our audiences but we are deeply moved by what we get back: happy faces, stories, friendships…

Q: What’s next for Celtic Spring?

A: Our hope is that Celtic Spring will have many more opportunities to perform. We would love to continue taking our music and dance around the world. We have begun recording our second CD which we hope to have out before Christmas. We are now practicing about eight hours a day to get the sets ready for recording. Then we hope to just keep on bringing joy and beauty to the world!

More on Celtic Spring

To find out more about Celtic Spring, visit their official site, www.celticspringband.com They run a web log (blog) at celticspringband.com/newlog

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July 20, 2005

British Army soldiers to be court martialled for war crimes

British Army soldiers to be court martialled for war crimes

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A patrol of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment in Iraq in 2003.

Three British Army soldiers are to be court martialled for alleged war crimes in Iraq, United Kingdom Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, announced yesterday in the House of Lords.

They are among eleven British soldiers charged with the ill treatment of two Iraqi civilians in separate incidents in September 2003. Seven, including the three accused of war crimes, have been charged with incidents that took place in September 2003. Four have been charged with the manslaughter of Ahmed Kareem in May 2003. They are alleged to have forced Mr Kareem — who was detained as a suspected looter — into the Shatt-al-Arab canal in Basra, where he subsequently drowned.

The three — Corporal Donald Payne, 34; Lance-Corporal Wayne Crowcroft, 21; and Private Darren Fallon, 22 — have been charged under the International Criminal Court Act 2001, and will be tried domestically, along with the other eight, rather than by the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

They are from the 1st Battalion, Queen’s Lancashire Regiment (QLR). The regiment has been at the centre of previous accusations of abuse in Iraq. The Daily Mirror published in May 2004 photographs purporting to be of soldiers of the QLR abusing Iraqi prisoners. The photographs were later proven to have been fabricated, and the newspaper’s editor, Piers Morgan, resigned.

Charges

Lance-Corporal Payne has been charged with manslaughter, inhuman treatment of persons, and perverting the course of justice. He is alleged to have killed Baha D’oud Salim Mousa, a 26-year-old hotel receptionist from Basra. Lance-Corporal Crowcroft and Private Fallon have also been charged with inhuman treatment of persons.

Sergeant Kelvin Stacey, 28, also of the QLR, is alleged to have assaulted an Iraqi detainee and now faces a charge of actual bodily harm.

Colonel Jorge Mendonca, 41, the former commanding officer of the QLR; Major Michael Peebles, 34; and Warrant Officer Mark Davies, 36, both of the Intelligence Corps, have been charged with negligence of duty contrary to the Army Act 1955.

All four charged with the manslaughter of Ahmed Kareem (as well as the alleged beating of other detainees) are from the Foot Guards, the British Army’s élite infantry of the Household Division. They are: Sergeant Carle Selman, 38, then of the Coldstream Guards (now with the Scots Guards); Guardsmen Martin McGing, 21, of the Irish Guards; Guardsman Joseph McCleary, 23, of the Irish Guards; and an unnamed 21-year-old lance-corporal was later disclosed to be that of James Stephen Cooke, also of the Irish Guards.

Response

The Secretary of State for Defence, John Reid, responded to the charges in a statement. In it, Mr Reid said, “Today the independent Army Prosecuting Authority has brought charges under British military law that will be heard in a British Court-Martial. Anyone accused is innocent until proved guilty and it is for the Courts Martial to consider the evidence in any case and reach a verdict.”

In February, three British soldiers were jailed and dismissed from the army when they were found guilty of abusing Iraqis near Basra. The Chief of the General Staff, Sir Mike Jackson, condemned those convicted, and apologised to the victims and the people of Iraq.

Allowing the prosecution of British soldiers for war crimes has, however, been criticised by former chiefs of the defence staff. Just last week, some former chiefs in the House of Lords said that prosecutions can be demoralising for the British Armed Forces, and can place the lives of soldiers at risk if the fear of prosecution prevents them from opening fire.

In May 2005, Lord Boyce, who held the post as an Admiral during the Iraq War, said in an interview with the British newspaper The Observer that he did not believe he had complete immunity from the International Criminal Court.

In the interview, he said: “If my soldiers went to jail and I did, some other people would go with me.”

After being asked whether Prime Minister Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith would be with him if he was ever brought to account, Lord Boyce said: “Too bloody right!”

The honorary Colonel-of-the-Regiment, Brigadier Geoffrey Sheldon, has said in a statement: “From the moment that Mr Mousa lost his life while in our custody, the regiment has made clear that this was an isolated, tragic incident which should never have happened, and which I and every member of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment bitterly regrets.”

The brigadier did, however, state he found it “particularly difficult” to understand why charges had been brought against the former CO of the QLR, saying that: “It was Colonel Jorge Mendonca, then the commanding officer, who, as soon as he learned of Mr Musa’s death, initiated the formal inquiry which has now resulted in these charges being brought.”

Colonel Mendonca was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in Iraq, and was promoted to full colonel shortly afterwards. He is now on the Army’s General Staff.

Sources

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